KNESSET EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS COMMITTEE: HOTEL GYMS NO LONGER HAVE TO EMPLOY FITNESS TRAINERS. THIS ON CONDITION THAT THE HOTEL GYM IS FOR THE USE OF HOTEL GUESTS ONLY AND IS NOT USED BY MINORS.
The Tourism Ministry is working to reduce the unnecessary regulations that lead to increased operating costs for hotels in Israel and, as a result, higher vacation costs. Today (18 June) the Knesset Education, Culture and Sports Committee approved a change to the regulations relating to hotel fitness rooms – a hotel no longer needs to have a fitness trainer present in the gym, providing it is used only by hotel guests and entrance for minors is not allowed.
The debate took place today as a result of the conclusions of the Bar Nir report from the Tourism Ministry that recommended ways in which to reduce the cost of vacationing in Israel. The committee recommendations were approved in a government decision dated 18/11/12.
The approved change in the regulations requires the hotel to inform the guests at the time of reservation that minors are not allowed to use the facilities of the hotel gym without the presence of a fitness trainer. The hotel will also ensure that a suitable sign is hung at the entrance to the fitness room. In the event that the hotel does employ a fitness trainer, a separate sign will detail the hours during which he is present.
The Bar Nir committee came to the conclusion that the main way in which vacation prices can be lowered in Israeli hotels is by increasing competition in the industry, increasing the number of hotel rooms and reducing fixed operating costs.
The committee presented data that showed that the operating costs borne by Israeli hotels are significantly higher than those in Europe and the OECD countries, as well as in USA, Canada, Korea etc. As a result, the profit margin in hotels in Israel is low, despite the relatively high prices.
This low profit margin, which is one of the key stumbling blocks for new hotel construction in Israel, can be improved by reducing unnecessary costs related to regulations for ongoing costs and new hotels. The committee recommended reducing costs in various ways, including, among others, reducing or removing current regulations that do not exist in competing countries and in OECD countries.